Bernardo M. Villegas
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Dreaming About Philippine Domestic Tourism

           I dream of family-friendly forms of entertainment, whether in the movies, television or the internet—cleansed from the worst forms of sex and violence that stem from ideological colonization.  Extrapolating into the future what is already a reality, the strongest engine of growth for the booming tourism industry is domestic tourism.  Today, there are already 40 million Filipino citizens discovering the numerous tourist destinations spread out all over our thousands of islands.  Most of them are married couples traveling with their children, the most morally sound form of tourism.  I am not bothered that we do not have the tens of millions that other countries have of foreign tourists, considering that  many of the these foreign visitors are back packers who can spoil the environment or, even worst, sex-hungry males  who corrupt our women and children.

          In addition, the booming domestic tourism industry will spawn numerous small businesses owned and managed by families, such as bed-and-breakfast facilities, transport services, restaurants, and travel websites.  The strongest foundation of a healthy economy is the small and medium-scale enterprise (SME) sector, in which most of the business units are still family owned. In fact, I also dream that even the larger corporations continue to be family businesses following the European model in which the top corporations are still controlled by families.  For these businesses to be sustainable and survive the test of time, it is important that the families that own and manage them do not disintegrate because of widespread divorces and marital infidelities.  Keeping the family intact also has its healthy impact on a growing economy.

          There is no question then that the future of Philippine society, nay of the entire humanity, depends on the family.  We can all dream that the following words of Pope Francis in his Message to the Family at the Mall of Asia will be accomplished not only in the Philippines but all over the world:  “Our world needs good and strong families to overcome these threats!  The Philippines needs holy and loving families to protect the beauty and truth of the family in God’s plan and to be a support and example for other families.  Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself.  The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passed through the family (cf Familiaris Consortio, 85).  So protect your families!  See in them our country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and the grace of the sacraments.  Families will always have their trials, but may you never add to them!  Instead, be living examples of love, forgiveness and care.  Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death.  What a gift this would be to society, if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation!  So rise with Jesus and Mary, and set out on the path the Lord traces for each of you.”  For comments, my email address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asia